BASANT PANCHAMI:Festival of India

Basant Panchami or  Vasant Panchami :

saraswatiAn Indian Festival dedicated to Maa Saraswati, the Goddess of knowledge, music, arts and culture. Vasant or Basant means Spring basically representing the spring season whereas Panchami means the fifth day so Vasant Panchami basically is a festival that falls on the fifth day of spring (Magh month)per hindu calendar.
Goddess Saraswati represents  serenity and calmness. She is generally shown seated on a white lotus, wearing a pure white silk sari and holding a book in her lower left hand. Her four hands denote four facets of human personality namely mind, intellect, alertness and ego. The lotus on her hand or her seat symbolizes true knowledge. Her ride is a white swan which is known for its peculiar capability of separating water from the milk. While the four hands denotes how attainment of knowledge can help us to balance mind,intellect,alertness and ego in life the swan indicates that we should have the ability to discriminate the bad from the goods. The white swan of Saraswati is symbolising Sattwa Guna (purity and discrimination). 
Basically the knowledge we gain in our life should help us not only to discriminate between right and wrong but also how to tame our ego and lead towards the path of intellect.
Spring represents a new beginning when most of the plants bear new blooms many plants come out  of the stage of dormancy hence this is the day when mostly kids are taught for the first time to read and write…basically they start the formal education.Its a big day for students and is celebrated in almost all the educational institutions.It’s considered as an auspicious day to begin the process of learning. Special prayer for Goddess Saraswati are conducted on this day. It is also a great day to inaugurate training institutes and new schools – a trend made famous by the renowned Indian educationist Pandit Madan Mohan Malaviya (1861-1946), who founded the Banaras Hindu University on Vasant Panchami day in 1916.
The colour yellow also plays an important role in this festival.
People usually wear yellow garments, Goddess Saraswati is worshiped in a yellow dress. Yellow represents spiritual knowledge and also natures bounty is mostly overshadowed in this colour in the form of fruits and flowers.
After worshipping the Goddess generally the offerings of fruits and flowers are given and following mantras are recited:
या कुन्देन्दु तुषार हार धवला या शुभ्रवस्त्रावृता
या वीणा वरदण्ड मण्डितकरा या श्वेतपद्मासना ।
या ब्रह्माच्युत शङ्करप्रभृतिभिर्देवैः सदा पूजिता
सा मां पातु सरस्वती भगवती निःशेषजाड्यापहा ॥
Yaa Kunda-Indu Tussaara Haara Dhavalaa Yaa Shubhra-Vastra-Avrtaa
Yaa Viinnaa Vara-Danndda Mannddita-Karaa Yaa Shveta-Padmaasanaa |
Yaa Brahma-Acyuta Shangkara-Prabhrtibhir-Devaih Sadaa Puujitaa
Saa Maam Paatu Sarasvatii Bhagavatii Nihshessa-Jaaddya-Apahaa ||
Meaning:
1: (O Mother Saraswati), Who is fair as a Jasmine flower and Moon and White as Snow and Who is Dressed in White Garments,
2: Whose Hands are Adorned by the Veena and Staff symbolising Boon-Giving and Who is Seated on a White Lotus,
3: Who is always Adored by Brahma, Vishnu, Shiva, and the other deities,
4: Kindly Protect me, and Remove my Ignorance.
PUSHPANJALI:
 The popular ‘pranam mantra’ or Sanskrit prayer, Saraswati devotees utter with utmost devotion on this day:The kids should recite this mantra while offering flowers and fruits to Goddess Saraswati

Om Saraswati Mahabhagey, Vidye Kamala Lochaney |
Viswarupey Vishalakshmi, Vidyam Dehi Namohastutey ||
Jaya Jaya Devi, Charachara Sharey, Kuchayuga Shobhita, Mukta Haarey |
Vina Ranjita, Pustaka Hastey, Bhagavati Bharati Devi Namohastutey ||

Meaning : Om Goddess Saraswati,
who is fair like the jasmine-colored moon,
and whose pure white garland is like frosty dew drops;
who is adorned in radiant white attire,
on whose beautiful arm rests the veena,
and whose throne is a white lotus;
who is surrounded and respected by the Gods, protect me.
May you fully remove my lethargy, sluggishness, and ignorance.”

ॐ असतो मा सद्गमय ।
तमसो मा ज्योतिर्गमय ।
मृत्योर्मा अमृतं गमय ।
ॐ शान्तिः शान्तिः शान्तिः ॥
Om Asato Maa Sad-Gamaya |
Tamaso Maa Jyotir-Gamaya |
Mrtyor-Maa Amrtam Gamaya |
Om Shaantih Shaantih Shaantih ||
Meaning:
1: Om, Lead us from Unreality (of Transitory Existence) to the Reality (of Self),
2: Lead us from the Darkness (of Ignorance) to the Light (of Spiritual Knowledge),
3: Lead us from the Fear of Death to the Knowledge of Immortality.
4: Om Peace, Peace, Peace.
May the Goddess of Learning always shower her blessings on us..
May the desire of learning never leave us till we reach our grave
May we be wise to understand right from wrong
May we be grounded enough so as the ego never creeps in our mind and heart..

Craft your Present : My Hand painted Bottles

WD_8976

A New year, a new beginning, a fresh start , a clean canvas. If you were wondering why I kept “Craft your Present” title for my post, then I chose this topic as this is the first anniversary of my BLOG too. Thanks for stopping by and reading my blog.

Yes, the bottles are hand painted by me and no I have not done painting classes formally and its an art I developed lately only…but I love it. I love keeping myself busy it gives me that extra push which is much required.Yes I get tired too, sometimes even I feel I am dabbling in too many things or I am unable to be in charge of everything around me but then comes the voice in my head “This shall pass too” 🙂

We all carry some kind of baggage from our various relations(personal and professional) and our daily routines,just as these bottles come with different labels.Thinking them as useless once the juice out of it is gone we can either trash them or scrape them off ,clean it up, and use it fresh and make something beautiful or creative out of it. Same way you can be bogged down by your daily routine and find the daily routine monotonous or shake off the labels and explore your potentials.The point is to challenge yourself. An older friend of mine told me ” I like to be busy…Busy means Buzzing with Life. I would rather be busy than be free, twirling my thumbs and sitting idle doing nothing” and I could not agree with her more.

A friend of mine shared a story about a company that supplied fresh fish to food industry.The demand of fresh fish increased so much that the boats capturing them got bigger and the distance these boats traveled grew longer,resulting in long return time hence the Fish loosing their USP : The Freshness. The company decided to resolve the issue by putting freezer in the boats .Few months went by but the sale of the company started declining, research showed the customers were not liking the taste of frozen fishes.The company tried putting big water tanks on the boats and stuffing it with fresh fish fin to fin to make more profits. The food industry was not willing to pay the same price for their fish as the tired and dull fishes cramped in small place didn’t taste well. Today the company is flourishing and making money with one simple solution.They added small shark to each water tank, the challenge to save their lives kept the fishes active and fresh :-). I know like you, even I would be questioning the authenticity of the story. Point here is that we all sometimes feel dull and bored in this day to day routine of our pond of life. The way to keep it BUZZING is keep yourself busy.. add a little shark to your pond. Set some goals for yourself, challenge yourself, learn something new ,push yourself harder, not only these new challenges will keep you fresh and flourishing , but the satisfaction you will gain by achieving them and the examples you will set for people around you is beyond explanation.

Keep like minded people around you, Meet with one who will challenge you, push you, bring the best out of you (Mainly its all within you). Unravel the possibilities within you and get BUSY:BUZZING WITH LIFE.:-) and I promise once you start crafting your present you will be humming a happy tune at the end of the day.

Christmas Art : Using Pine Cone

XmasArtKids ready for Christmas Break and are you wondering what to do with them during this holiday break.Well don’t go too far . Here are two nice activities that you can do with kids.

1) Elf on the shelf with Pine cone : Choose a nice pine cone, few felt sheets , some glue, and an wooden ball and you are all set to make an elf with your little elves 🙂 .

2) Rudolph the Reindeer with Pine cone : Pick a pine cone, pompoms,few pipe cleaners,few felt sheets, Wiggle eyes, and Ribbon (if you want to hang it as Christmas ornament on your tree.

You can make different templates and keep different variety of supplies and this can be your Christmas party activity. Attached are the pictures for you to get an idea. Feel free if you have any questions to make the same.

UBUNTU- an Ideal philosophy

UBUNTUThose who are from the world of computers and have explored the world of computers through other venues of doors and yards and not just through the windows 🙂 must have definitely heard the word UBUNTU.Those who have not, let me give you a quick peek through your windows to other side of technology world.UBUNTU is an operating system developed under the leadership of Mark Shuttleworth who  gathered a small team of developers from one of the most established Linux projects — Debian — and set out to create an easy-to-use Linux desktop: Ubuntu.The need to develop it was to over the come the needs of free software for every day life of most computer users.

Am I here to give you a lesson on technology . No definitely not ..but yes I want to share the philosophy behind this technology.UBUNTU is a word derived from ancient African language which roughly means “I am what I am because of who we all are”. Keep Humanity above all.What was the motivation to name the system UBUNTU?? Well there is a story behind it . It’s believed that an Anthropologist was visiting Africa and he played a game with African tribal children. He placed a basket of candies and sweets about 100 meters away from the kids. He made them stand in a line for race and announced who ever reaches first to the basket will be the one can have all the candies and sweets. With the expectation of kids running and pushing to reach the basket first he whistled for the race to begin. To his amazement , there was no rush , no push, no running, instead he saw the group of kids walking hand in hand towards the basket. They all reached the basket at the same time, shared the sweets and candies among them and relished them.Those little kids not only knew the philosophy of UBUNTU , but the important part is they also knew to implement it in life.

One can not be happy when others around you are sad, one can not prosper on the expense of others.We can grow as an individual or as a society only when we learn the concept of Sharing. SHARE YOUR JOYS, SHARE YOUR SUCCESS, SHARE YOUR PROSPERITY,SHARE YOUR HAPPINESS,SHARE YOUR KNOWLEDGE…GROW TOGETHER ..since we are what we are because of others around us…

The anthropologist asked the kids why they did what they did and pat came the reply “UBUNTU”…I am because we are..

Lets lead the life with UBUNTU in our core …

Hi-Tech-Diya

CD_DiyaDiwali or Deepavali is the time of the year when all the Indians make an extra effort to clean up the house ,apart from decorating it and making savouries etc. The First step in Cleaning is Purging, and now a days with growing technology, we have so many CD’s that are of no use as they get corrupted or data in it is no more needed or you just have an extra copy of the same stuff or it might be even a blank CD. Collect all those CD’s, gather some beads,rhinestones and let your kids make wonderful Diwali diya’s out of it. Want to go out of box, use the 3-D paints, Glitters,felt cloth , if the kids are too small just use the fancy colorful stickers. You have happy kids , guilt less parents (guilty of letting them watch too much electronics, while you are busy doing all the cooking and cleaning) and a Beautiful piece of art to decorate your home with LIGHTS of LOVE.Not to mention those little cute faces will beam with pride when those diya’s are lit by Mommy.

Halloween-No Pumpkin Halloween Decor

Halloween

 

 

 

Fall represents not only the crisp winter mornings, the pumpkins, the chrysanthemums,Orange,yellow,red,brown colors,the perfect pumpkin spice latte etc. But also, a lot of fun filled activities with the beginning of festivities both on the East and West side of the world. Loads of ways to involve the kids and do fun activities with them and make beautiful memories.

Pumpkin carving is one such activity , but what if you don’t have the time to get the pumpkins or what if you have little ones who are not yet old enough to do such activity.Don’t let these things dampen your fall spirit … Lets do some Halloween Activity without pumpkins Yes you read right “no pumpkins” but as the picture suggests with “Milk Can”.

Enjoy this fall/Halloween with milk cans…save a few and then let your little ones put their imaginations on cans..You can use the Sharpie pens or the Construction papers.Yes the milk can also can give the same spooky effect :-)).

With the rainy and gloomy weather outside today and no classes for kids this evening ..here is a spooky peek of what we did …Hope you got some ideas and can do something similar. Don’t forget to share pictures of your spooky work.

Spooky

HAPPY HALLOWEEN

Dussehra or Vijayadashmi : Old festival in a new light

RaavanDussehra (दशहरा ) or Vijayadashmi (विजयादशमी ) is an Indian  festival celebrated just after “Navratri” (9 days of celebration of Goddess of power,wisdom,and wealth) in all parts of India.

Ask any Indian about the significance of Dussehra and most probably the most common answer will refer to Lord Ram’s victory over the ten-headed demon king Ravan(रावण) and basically signifies victory of good over evil.Mostly this day effigy of Raavan is burnt and he is shown with the 10 heads .

This is how we understood the Dussehra festival up until now. The festivals or rituals were created as checks and balances for the survival of the community.In order for the common people to follow these checks and balances , they were introduced as customs/rituals and people followed it as part of their tradition. But with ever changing and developing society all these rituals/customs need to be understood in a new sense or a new light.This is the only way we can make the younger generation understand why we do what we do.This is how they will understand the significance of our age old traditions.

Dussehra is derived from Sanskrit Dasha(दस/दश) -hara(हरा ) literally means removal/defeat of ten (Dasha(ten) and Hara(defeat)).

In todays perspective the 10 heads of Ravan represent 10 bad qualities that one should try to remove. We all have these qualities/bad qualities in us
1.  EGO (ahamkara)- अहंकार
2. ATTACHMENT (moha)-मोह
3. SELFISHNESS (Swarth)-स्वार्थ
4. ANGER (krodha)-क्रोध
5. HATRED (ghrina)-घृणा /नफरत
6. PRIDE (Mad)-मद
7. JEALOUSY (irshya)-ईर्ष्या
8. GREED (lobha)-लोभ
9. LUST (kama)-काम
10. INSJUSTICE (Anyaay)-अन्याय

These are all traits of human nautre. All of us have either some of these traits or all of these traits and there is no denial to this universal truth.Some amount of few of these traits should definitely be developed in a human being like attachment (for parents, for family, for loved ones,for country etc), pride (for what you are and what all you represent people,country etc). Basically where there is pride , there is attachment, where there is attachment , there is selfishness , so the point is we all possess these traits more or less.Hence some amount of few of these qualities are must ..especially in today’s world..but “अति किसी भी चीज़ की बुरी “..meaning Too much of a good thing turns out bad or harmful too.

To live the precious “LIFE” (we have been blessed with) happily, attachment(to family and loved ones) is required to some extent….politeness and humbleness are must…but not to the extent that it crushes…”Self Respect” but too much of it may lead to EGO and PRIDE…which is not good…similar points go for all the above mentioned.I guess for every person…that level/bar varies.All in all in a nutshell..BALANCE of these is the MANTRA of HARMONY IN LIFE ….:-)

May we all can strive for winning(vijaya) over these 10(dashmi) demons within us . Wishing all a very happy Dussehra !!!!

 

दहन कागज़ के पुतले को रावण का नाम देकर कर भी दिया
तो दशहरे के मायने नहीं समझे हैं तुमने ,
मन के अंदर बसी दुर्भावनाओं का दहन हो तो सही मायने में दशहरा  है ,
प्रेम भी तुम में द्वेष भी तुम में
राम भी तुममे ,रावण भी तुममे ,
गुण भी तुम में ,अवगुण भी तुममें ,
विचार करो गहन किसका करोगे  दहन
क्योंकि राम भी तुम में रावण भी तुम में
प्रण करें की एक अवगुण का नाश  हो ,
बाहर नहीं किन्तु अपने अंदर के रावण का विनाश हो

-प्रीती मिश्र तिवारी

3-october-2014

Lord Ganesha – The Elephant God: Lessons from a Mom’s eye

Tanjore_GaneshaLord Ganesh or The Elephant God as known in the western world (due to his elephant head) is the god of removal of Obstacles.Easy to please and hence the first one to be worshiped in any and every kind of pooja or beginning of a new good venture/task.

Lord Ganesh is the son of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati.There are several stories of his birth or how he got his elephant head. I won’t go in the details of it, but if you need the info do post the comment and I will be happy to explain.

Like every Indian rituals that have some scientific base to it similarly every Indian deity represents something. Lord Ganesh not only is the removal of all obstacles, but also teaches many lessons through his idol. One of the first few lessons that we teach our little ones is body parts , Have you ever wondered when they grow up a little bit and are able to understand basics you can include it and teach them some of the basics of life. Here are few things that can be taught through Lord Ganesh’s body parts :

Head : The big head of Lord Ganesh teaches to think big. Have good thoughts in the mind. Rather than entangling your mind in worldly affair ,think up and beyond that. It can also be interpreted as think out of the box.

Mouth : Mouth of Ganesh is small and in worldly affair it teaches individuals to think more use the brain more but speak less, meaning to use your words wisely.Talking less and after thoughtful thinking will land you in less troubles and also take you towards the path of success and calmness.

Large Ears : The large ears of Ganesh symbolizes to be alert in life. Pay attention to the details and always be open to grasp knowledge from whatever source you can.It also means get opinions from all and then pick the best ones.This might give you a chance to ponder upon some of the aspects that you might have never registered.

Little eyes : The head of Ganesh is so big yet he has so small eyes. The reason for this is that even though one has to utilize maximum efficiency of his or her brain and think out of box, but once you have taken a task in the hand never loose focus from it. Focus is the basis for success in life , one can be good in so many things but concentrate on what you can do best and then focus all your energy in the same direction.

One tusk : One tusk of Ganesh has also given him the name “Ek Dant”. Elephant tusk is very strong in nature. We all go through many good and bad experiences in life be it people or be it incidents, hence it teaches one to be strong enough to make wise judgments and retain the good and leave the bad behind. There is no point in wasting your energy and sulking over the wrongs but to be strong and hold on to good and move on.

Trunk: Trunk represents strength, flexibility and adaptability of mind. The Ganesh’s trunk is sometime turned left which symbolizes the moon energy of the body (Ida nadi) which denotes calmness,tolerance,patience. When the trunk is twisted on the right side it represents sun energy of body (Pingala nadi) which in turn symbolizes masculinity and fierceness with which one can attain worldly happiness. The other name for right sided trunk Ganesh is “Siddhi Vinayak”. Most of the temples have right sided trunk idols of Ganesh, but in homes its suggested to always keep idol in a sitting pose and with left sided trunk. The way to find if the trunk is right or left sided is not from the end turning of trunk but in what direction the trunk is turned at the very beginning.Very rarely you will find a straight trunk Ganesh which signifies Sushumna Nadi and represents ultimate happiness or destination.

Big Belly : Lord Ganesh is also always shown with big belly. The big stomach means one should know how to digest the good and bads. People may say favorable things to you and they may also say things that might hurt you. Giving some one “piece of mind” should not be your ultimate aim, but to take the negative in without it bothering you and moving on is what is the sign of intelligence. It also tells you not to get involved in the gossips or tattle tale.

Mouse : Mouse by nature is very restless and it represents our mind or desires.If desires are not controlled properly they can lead you to wrong path. You need to make wise judgments in life  so as not to land in any troubles.The way you can tame your mind or desires is by always using your brain. Hence Lord Ganesh is seen riding the mouse indicating how our desires are have very little significance if we know how to control them and lead in the right direction.

 

Happy teaching and Happy learning !!!

Om Ganeshay Namah !!

Feherist (List)

दुश्मनों के नामों की क़तर-ब्योंत करने चले थे ,
गोया देखा तो दोस्तों की फ़ेहरिस्त छोटी हो गयी

प्रीती मिश्र तिवारी
१ सितम्बर २०१५

 

Was trying to eliminate few names of foe’s and realized while doing so the list of friends some how became shorter.

Hand made Rakhi

Rakhi_artNecessity is the mother of invention , the saying holds true. I love to do little arts and crafts stuff with kids. Especially with my little girl because she loves it. As Rakhi was approaching , I decided this time we will celebrate Raksha bandhan with a hand made rakhi. One reason I like personalized stuff is Just the thought that some one took effort for you and while completing the art/task they were thinking about you means a lot.

This rakhi was made with Silk thread (resham) which is considered to be an integral part of rakhi. You can use the same concept and make cards, show pieces and lots of other creative stuff. Keep your creative juices flowing with endless possibilities and you will be amazed at what all you can do .